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Ethnic and Cultural Variations in the Care of the Aged

Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Author: Hyatt, K.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 1982


In Some Aspects of Working with the Italian Elderly, Eugene J. Cacciola (Freedom Trail Clinic, Boston, Mass) examines the background of cultural & subcultural styles of the Italian-American family to consider how they affect individual & family functioning in the aging family & hinder social service intervention. Description is provided of a hypothetical composite of an aging couple who exemplify some problems common to first- & second-generation Italian-American families, highlighting difficulties they encounter in therapeutic intervention. In Psychiatric Intervention with Blacks: The Elderly-A Case in Point, Orlando B. Lightfoot (Boston U School of Medicine, Mass) examines the effect of race, social class, & racism on disease incidence & health care service delivery, focusing on elderly blacks, who are more prone to certain illnesses due to their overrepresentation in the lower classes. Illustration of these issues is provided via a case vignette of an elderly black F. In Discussion: The Black Elderly: Biopsychosocial Perspectives within an Age Cohort and Adult Development Context, F. M. Baker (Yale U School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn) expands on Lightfoots' arguments, discussing the implications of the heterogeneous cultural, religious, socioeconomic, & genetic backgrounds of blacks for therapeutic intervention, also focusing on the elderly black client. Melvin Delgado (Boston U School of Social Work, Mass) addresses problems faced in planning human service delivery for the growing population of elderly Hispanic Americans in Hispanic Elderly and Natural Support Systems: A Special Focus on Puerto Ricans. Recommendations are made for using the elderly as valuable resources within the major natural support systems of the Puerto Rican community in providing health services to fellow Hispanics. In Discussion: Hispanic Elderly and Natural Support Systems: A Special Focus on Puerto Ricans, Ana-Maria Rizzuto (Tufts U School of Medicine, Medford, Mass) agrees with Delgado's recommendations, but cautions health care providers to be aware of the complexities faced by these elderly caught in the intergenerational gap between traditional values & the increasing Americanization of younger Puerto Ricans. Jose Szapocznik, William M. Kurtines, David Santisteban, & Angel Perez-Vidal (U of Miami School of Medicine, Fla) present two case studies of their treatment of depressed Hispanic women in New Directions in the Treatment of the Elderly: A Life Enhancement Counseling Approach. The method's effectiveness is argued to be due to the alleviation of feelings of meaninglessness & purposelessness that often plague the elderly; its applicability should extend across various racial & ethnic groups.

Further Details

Pages: 197-281
Volume: 15
Issue: 2
Accession Number: 8.5.03
Keywords: Europe, older, emotional
Reads: 156